Orthodontic treatment is not complete without a successful retention phase. Several people express concerns over the use of teeth retainers. But, they are a necessary step in maintaining the positioning of the teeth. In this post, our dental team answers the common retainer questions.
A retainer is a dental piece that holds your teeth in the new position. More often than not, the teeth are likely to fall back to the original position when the orthodontic treatment is complete.
When you are wearing the braces, the gums and the teeth ligaments are loosened, and they don’t tighten fast enough to hold the teeth in position. Hence, without a retainer, it is easy for the teeth to move back to the original space. Wearing a teeth retention dental piece full-time will give the gums time to settle.
Everyone who goes through orthodontic treatment will need a retainer to hold the teeth in position. However, age will determine the retention phase. Adults need to wear retainers for longer than children. This is because their teeth have a higher chance of reverting back.
Two retainer types are available—Fixed and removable retainers
The retainer is made of a thin wire fixed behind the upper or lower teeth. The wire is cemented in place similarly to the traditional braces. These fixed retainers are done by a dentist and are worn for several years.
Removable retainers are molded clear plastic, acrylic, or metal wires. They work just like the fixed ones, only that they are removable.
These retainers are an ideal option if you want a less conspicuous option, but are recommended for people with high oral hygiene. It is important to maintain proper hygiene when wearing removable retainers.
The length of the retention phase will depend on the type of retainer braces you use. For fixed retainers, it can take four to six months, while the removable ones take 12 months. You will need to wear the retainers all the time, as advised by the orthodontic. After the initial time, you may wear them at night for an indefinite time or until the dentist advises otherwise.
Your teeth will go back to the original position, and all the progress will be lost. Remember, the ligaments that hold the teeth together are loose and cannot hold the new teeth position. You need a retainer to keep them secure.
Removing the braces is not the last step of the orthodontic treatment, but rather the first.
Wearing a retainer is just like the braces, only there won’t be soreness since the teeth are not moving to a new position. Moreover, unlike the braces, retainers are easy on the cheeks.
You may have speech impairment because the retainers fit at the back of teeth affecting the tongue. You will get used to normal speech with time, but you need practice. You may also experience excess saliva production as the tongue gets used to the retainers.
Yes. It is critical to practice proper hygiene, regardless of the type of retainer you have.
Flossing when wearing the fixed retainers is vital to remove food particles that are stuck in between.
If you are using the removable retainers, make sure you store them in the provided cases when not in use. Remember, to rinse your teeth and gums before wearing the retainers again. Plus, wash them daily using a soft-bristled brush.
Above all, visit Kathleen Valencia Orthodontics in Weston, FL, for your professional deep cleaning. A deep clean is the best treatment against plaque buildup or bacterial growth. We will also examine your teeth and retainer condition during your routine dental checkup.
Contact our dental team if you have any queries about dental retainers.